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  Welcome, Wheatley '63 Wildcats, Hipcats and Housecats.  Yours is the 24423th visit.

 

Are you coming back home for the 60th Anniversary Celebration? 

(Here's a list of those who have registered, so far.)

  Rembrandt's "Return of the Prodigal Son".Luke 15:32 But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found". 

The 60th Anniversary of The Wheatley School will be celebrated on October 14th - 15th,2016 at the school. Register early !

 

Continuing our search for the holy in our increasing secular holidays, let's consider the St. Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach. It was first performed on Good Friday 1727   Here's the Wikipedia header

The St. Matthew The St. Matthew Passion (German: MatthäusPassion) ...,with libretto by Picander (Christian Friedrich Henrici). It sets chapters 26 and 27 of the Gospel of Matthew (in the German translation of Martin Luther) to music, with interspersed chorales and arias.Matthew 26:1 places the first scene two days before the Passover...After a few words of introduction by the Evangelist, the first words of Christ, set as an accompagnato recitative with slow strings, contain an ominous prediction of his imminent fate. It is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of classical sacred music. The original Latin title Passio Domini nostri J.C. secundum Evangelistam Matthæum translates to "The Passion of our Lord J C according to the Evangelist Matthew... As is typical of settings of the Passion (and originating in its liturgical use on Palm Sunday), there is no mention of the Resurrection in any of these texts (apart from indirect allusions at Matthew 27:53 and 63). Following the concept of Anselm of Canterbury, the crucifixion is the endpoint and the source of redemption; the emphasis is on the suffering of Jesus.

How is this quote from Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar related to Valentine's Day?  

Ceasar to Mark Anthony:

"Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,
The barren touched in this holy chase,
Shake off their sterile curse."

      On Valentine's Day, both men and women have occasion to reflect on the meaning of it all, especially with respect to sex,  and to mull over our (respective) places in the universe. Since clarity is elusive, these thoughts rarely lead anywhere. In your editor's case, lacking original thoughts on the subject led us to historical examples, looking for clues from people in the past. While searchng, we found this, from the the folks over at NPR

Though no one has pinpointed the exact origin of the holiday, one good place to start is ancient Rome, where men hit on women by, well, hitting them. ...From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

The Roman romantics "were drunk. They were naked," says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival --- or longer, if the match was right.

The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love. Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine's Day.

Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine's Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, "It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn't stop it from being a day of fertility and love. Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin's Day. Galatin meant "lover of women." That was likely confused with St. Valentine's Day at some point, in part because they sound alike.

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 Do you experience with some regret, the current lack of Christmas Pagentry in public and commercial spaces?  Today (2015-12-24) Daniel Henniger  wrote about his recent stroll up Fifth Avenue, sorrowing over the absence of Nativity displays in store windows and streets; instead, he found scenes of fortune-tellers, Roman gods and concubines. 

 

 Henniger's article puzzled our mind. We asked, why expect retail businesses to maintain the spirit of Christmases' Past? Isn't the nourishment for our souls prepared in the kitchen of our Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples?   Following this thought, we visited the Temple of YouTube, where we enjoyed some traditional dishes. Here's one of them --  Bach's Christmas Oratorio, with libretto.

  If you want to know more about the story told in Bach's Oratorio, here is what Wikipedia has to say  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_Oratorio): 

The work belongs to a group of three oratorios written towards the end of Bach's career in 1734 and 1735 for major feasts, the others being the Ascension Oratorio (BWV 11) and the Easter Oratorio (BWV 249). All parody earlier compositions, although the Christmas Oratorio is by far the longest and most complex work.

The oratorio is in six parts, each part being intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period. The piece is often presented as a whole or split into two equal parts. The total running time for the entire work is nearly three hours.

The first part (for Christmas Day) describes the Birth of Jesus, the second (for December 26) the annunciation to the shepherds, the third (for December 27) the adoration of the shepherds, the fourth (for New Year's Day) the circumcision and naming of Jesus, the fifth (for the first Sunday after New Year) the journey of the Magi, and the sixth (for Epiphany) the adoration of the Magi.

      

 Do Catholics, Muslims and Jews all worship the same God? Pope Francis thinks so. The article is from Bloomberg's columnist  Noah Feldman, who teaches at Harvard Law school (and who helped write the Iraqi constitution when he worked for the Bush administration).

 "In the Middle Ages Hanukkah festivities celebrated more than just the valiant deeds of the Maccabees. For several centuries there was another hero associated with Hanukkah: Judith. The Book of Judith promised that her praise would "never depart from the heart of those who remember the power of God," and that her actions would "go down through all generations of our descendants." [http://jwa.org/discover/throughtheyear/december/judith].  As the picture by Carvaggio depicts, Judith had quite a frown on her face as she grabs Holofernes by the hair and, with her right hand, finishes off the Assyrian (click on the picture to get better resolution). More details, including a cheese dimension of the story: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/12/04/166486095/a-hidden-hanukkah-tale-of-a-woman-an-army-and-some-killer-cheese

Looking for a happier Christmas story and a more conventional woman's role?  Here Carvaggio portrays a woman in a maternal pose. But his Madonna was not what "very serious people" (as Paul Krugman might say) thought proper, and it got the painter in trouble with the law.   "Giovanni Baglione, a competing painter of lesser talent, ... who had successfully obtained Caravaggio's jailing during a libel trial, said that the unveiling of this painting 'caused the common people to make a great cackle (schiamazzo) over it.' "  We don't think that Carvaggio's defense at his trial was helped by: the Madonna's crossed legs and bare feet; the liklihood that the lady was Carvaggio's mistress; and lack of any kingly characteristics of the two characters performing this particular adoration. 

 

Do you remember the historical derivation of of what we now know as Santa Claus? 

 

And here is a little song for our New Year celebrations. We had forgotten that the Little Rascals was the re-run of the original Our Gang . The gathering depicted in the song is a reunion of the cast of the old and the new versions.
 

 IN "Good Cheer" Our Gang pelts innocent pedestrians with snow balls around Christmas time in a Northern city, perhaps New York. 

 
  We presume that visitors to our site are are in a position to judge the accuracy of this remark, reputedly by Confucius: 
"... at seventy I could follow my heart's desire without overstepping the boundaries of what was right."
And, speaking about what is right, you might enjoy this little essay, which came into our possession through a politically incorrect channel. The author apparently went to Amherst when WE went to college. He writes from the prospective of man who suffered indignities without calling them "micro-agressions."   

 

Recent notable regroupings:

Lebanon Springs NY (chez jeff Ross) and Stockbridge MA (chez Lauren Jacobs Komack) on 2015-08-08:
Per Lauren's report:
"Attached is a photo that was taken at Jeff and Karen Ross’ farm in Lebanon Springs, NY this past weekend. Karen took the photo. John and Pam Shaffer, Carol and Mel Benjamin, and Donna Kenton visited me at my Stockbridge home. Jeff joined us for a wonderful recital of Brahms trios with Yo Yo Ma, Leonidas Kavalos, and Emmanuel Ax on Thursday and then went (without Jeff) to a Boston Symphony concert, which included the Sibelius violin concerto and Petrouchka. We had a great time."
[Editor's comment: Donna Kenton, participated in BOTH groups;  apparently, she speeds from place to place, shod with Hermes' winged sandals.]
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2nd, annual, post 50th, NYC Mini-Reunion Luncheon
We gathered on Thursday,at a midtown Italian restaurant (with Albanian waiters) on  July 30th, 2015. We were't numerous, but we were jolly. Left to right: Lamitola Downey, Aufhauser, Friedmann Mayer, Engoron, Kenton, Stone Matho. 

===

 

The Wheatley Alumni Association announces: 

The Wheatley School is celebrating its 60th Anniversary on October 14, 15, and 16 (Friday through Sunday), 2016, at the school.

Our own class's Reunion Planning Committee views this multi-class celebration as an occasion for organizing some activities for the Class of '63.  So, keep that in mind as you build your anticipations about this event.
 
To read the minutes of the animated discussions up to now, please consult the Planning Committee Minutes on the Wheatley Alumni site.
You are invited to lend an opinion, your presence, and a hand. 

Art Engoron, Wheatley 1967       646-872-4833
 

 

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